School bond levies will still need supermajority

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — School districts looking for money to build new schools will continue to need a 60 percent supermajority to pass bond issues.

The Spokesman-Review reports a proposed constitutional amendment to ask voters to lower that requirement to a simple majority failed Tuesday in the Senate.

Arguments that a minority of voters shouldn’t be able to thwart the needs for new or reconstructed schools didn’t sway Senate Republicans, who countered taxpayers need the protection of stronger public support for a tax levy that can last as long as 30 years.

Some schools struggle for years to pass bond issues, collecting more than 50 percent support but failing to get the supermajority.

Republicans proposed to change the constitutional amendment to require a 55 percent majority to pass a school bond and exempt construction from prevailing wage requirements that they contend increase the costs of the projects.

But the original amendment had no reference to prevailing wage requirements, and that change was blocked by a ruling it was outside the scope of the original proposal.